What do we owe people in our lives? Not just adoptees, but any of us? We were raised well, given chances, saved from otherwise very difficult situations, given jobs, breaks, and more. Is there an expectation of payback or eternal gratefulness for the opportunities provided to us? What do we “owe” our saviors?

As adoptees, many of us were plucked from an inopportune set of circumstances and provided with a family who would raise us, love us, care for us, and set us up for a good life. We are indeed lucky, in many cases, to land where we did instead of who knows what. At the same time, we are human beings. We were helpless children who had no control over our situations. Where we ended up was as much by chance as it would have been had we been born in a third world country or to a royal family with endless riches.

So do we have to be eternally grateful that we were “rescued?” To me, the answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY NOT! Children are born into the world. They are vulnerable. They need to be cared for and loved. Eventually, they will become adults. Many will be grateful for the life they’ve been given, and others will struggle. Even if they are grateful with their particular situations, there is no reason they have to be. It’s really up to them to determine how they feel about it, and they don’t need guilt trips or never ending IOUs throughout the course of their lives.

Providing a home and a family out of love is just that. Many adoptive parents do that, and they don’t expect anything in return. They don’t ask for constant thanks or hold it over their adopted child’s head for all eternity. They don’t use it as a bargaining chip or a guilt trip. They love their child and that is that.

Personally, I love my parents. They have given me a great start in life and a support system that I know I can count on. I still struggle. Being separated from biological parents brings its set of challenges, and it has impacted me. That has nothing to do with my adoptive parents. It just is. I appreciate all they have done for me and all they continue to do for me. But I know it was simply chance that I ended up where I did. My parents don’t expect me to be grateful for what they have done for me, and they don’t hold it over my head. They love me for the man I have become. And that’s the way it should be.